It's been six months since the dark cloud of Donald Sterling reared its ugly head and cast an alarming shadow on the future of the Los Angeles Clippers. In those six months, a lot has happened. But for the first time since ownership changed to billionaire Steve Ballmer, the richest American owner in sports ¹, the Los Angeles Clippers got back on a basketball court. No, it wasn't for an actual game that counted in the standings but, for all intents and purposes, it was just as important. It was the first day of training camp and the Clippers unveiled some new players, as well as the returning core that made up last year's team.
There weren't really any "big developments" today but, as Dan Woike noted in his tweet, the Clippers did have everyone available and used today as a "teaching day" so to speak. Woike also tweeted out that the trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Doc Rivers spoke "about continuity and being further ahead at the start of camp this year" when compared to last year. According to a few other people that were there in attendance watching the first day of Clippers training camp, Blake Griffin appeared to be moving well, Doc Rivers praised the acquisition of Spencer Hawes by saying that it helps to have a "starting big as a backup big", and that rebounding was the biggest weakness from last year's squad.
There were plenty of other tidbits out there today that I'll link to in a second but, on the whole, it sounds like this team is in a far better place both mentally and structurally than last season at this point in time. It seems like the first day of training camp went well and the best news of the day, so far, is that the team seems to really be getting along and that no one, knock on wood, has been injured. Although, Chris Douglas-Roberts did bang heads with a teammate and had to sit out for a little bit but he's fine now. Long story short, the 2014-2015 Clippers seem to be in a "business first" mindset and the opening of training camp has further solidified that thought process.
Doc Rivers said there's no curfew and it's hard to disagree with his rationale, Jamal Crawford tweeted out his thoughts on the coaching staff, which he called "the best collection of coaches on one team", Blake Griffin was excited to get back out on the court again and has been working on his corner threes, J.J. Redick unleashed his beautiful shot form (and beautiful everything) on the masses, Chris Paul said the team went out for a "team dinner" last night, Blake Griffin said the team is "focused on playing" and not on any of the stuff that went on in the past, Chris Paul addressed Russell Westbrook's comments about Westbrook being the best point guard in the NBA, and, last but not least, Doc Rivers said he'd take Chris Paul "all day."
All in all, it seemed like a fairly light day for the first day of training camp but that's to be expected. The Clippers concluded the first session of practice around 2 PM and will have another practice that goes from 6 PM to 7:30 PM. So I'm sure there will be more updates then and they'll keep rolling in afterwards. Hope everyone has had a good day. We know the Clippers have.
¹ I did some fact checking to make sure he wasn't just the richest American owner in sports but the richest in the world, period. He's not. Sometime in the last few months, Ballmer was passed by Mukesh Ambani, who owns the Mumbai Indians, a cricket team in India. As of this second, Forbes estimates that Steve Ballmer is worth $22.3 billion while Mukesh Ambani is worth $23.6 billion. So, while the Clippers don't have the richest owner in all of sports, he's certainly the richest owner in any of the four major sports and richest in North America. I now apologize for putting forth this useless information.